Freeview film of the day: The Monuments Men

George Clooney heads a terrific cast on a hunt for looted Nazi art

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The Monuments Men ★★ 
9.00-11.20pm C4 Premiere

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If you’re in the market for an affectionate Second World War mission movie in The Dirty Dozen mould, then The Monuments Men will suffice. Its believe-it-or-not true-life premise – an Allied “treasure hunt” in 1945 for millions of paintings and sculptures stolen by the Nazis – provides a nice, avuncular team-leader role for co-writer/co-producer/director George Clooney. Set his terrific cast – John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Matt Damon – on their low-powered Euro-mission and light the touch paper, right? Not really. No sooner has the promising team of misfits been assembled than they are divided into pairs, and the film plods from leadenly comic vignette (a French village dentist wielding a mallet?) to jarringly serious interlude (the gruesome discovery of gold fillings) without ever cohering into a satisfying whole. And Cate Blanchett’s Resistance historian is especially underused. It’s fun, but it could have been so much better.


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